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Training the next generation.

Training the Navy's next generation of leaders is not a job that the United States Naval Academy's Senior Enlisted Leader (SEL), Senior Chief Machinist Mate (SW/AW) Jason Enge, takes lightly. An SEL is in charge of a company of approximately 150 midshipmen. There are 30 Navy & Marine Corps SELs within the brigade of midshipmen.

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"It means a great deal to me to have this responsibility," said Enge. "I've seen the negative results of complacent leadership and how that affects the mission. In my current position, I get to watch the midshipmen develop and assist them as they train to be effective leaders."

Enge's role is to monitor the midshipmen's progress, both personally and professionally. If he sees someone struggling, it is his responsibility to makes sure they get proper counseling and mentorship.

"The goal is to try to let the division and company run itself," he said. "We (the SELs) don't want to be the first level of interaction, but if it's necessary we will step in and mentor."

Enge said being stationed at the Academy is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"It's been amazing here," he said. "There is so much history to take in and a lot of fringe benefits. The midshipmen qualify on weapons. They do confidence courses, rapelling and sailing, among other things--and I get to qualify and take part in a lot of that as well."

Enge said it's his mission to make sure the midshipmen under his command are prepared to serve when they get to the fleet.

"You can't throw a switch when you graduate and all of a sudden you're a leader," he said. "You have to develop that here at the Academy so when you reach the fleet you can hit the deck running."

McCammack is a photojournalist assigned to Naval Media Center, Washington, D.C.

Story by MC2(SW/AW) Jason McCammack
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Title Annotation:Focus on Service
Author:McCammack, Jason
Publication:All Hands
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2007
Words:316
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